Coyle Settling Into Defensive Coordinator Role

Posted Aug 14, 2012

One of the loudest voices that can be heard on the Miami Dolphins practice field is that of defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s, and his enthusiasm is refreshing to see.

This is Coyle’s first go around as a coordinator, having served as the defensive backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2003-11. Last Friday night at Sun Life Stadium, Coyle got to feel what it was like in that role under game conditions for the first time.

“It was exciting to have the chance to be kind of in control calling the defenses and orchestrating what we were doing,” Coyle said.

That will likely be the shortest answer Coyle gives all year, as he does not like to talk about himself. Ask him something about the defense and his players on that side of the ball and you’ll run out of notebook paper.

Two days after the Dolphins lost 20-7 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason opener and Coyle’s defense drew attention for the wrong reasons, he could recite the plays from memory as if he was watching the tape at that exact moment. This speaks volumes about Coyle’s attention to detail.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t play better, particularly early in the game,” said Coyle, who called his plays from the booth above the field against the Bucs. “We were just a hair off when you go back and you look at the tape. We started out the game with an excellent stop on the very first play. The second play, we just were a little tad off. We would have had him third-and-long, but instead, he squeaked through for about four or five and it ended up to be a third-and-two or three, and they converted that one.

“We had a couple miss fits in the run game, which was disappointing in terms of our alignments, which we haven’t been having here out in practice. Maybe it was first game jitters. The communication wasn’t what it needed to be, but, as the game went on, I was very pleased.”

It hasn’t taken long for the players to come to respect Coyle and but into what he’s bringing to the meeting room, the practice field and to the games. His attention to detail is something that rookies and veterans alike seem to appreciate.

Defensive end Cameron Wake is dealing with the move from outside linebacker to defensive end, which was his natural position in the Canadian Football League and in college, and he has a unique vision of what Coyle is doing. As a veteran he can help the young players get a better understanding of what their jobs are as well.

“He’s a great football mind,” Wake said of Coyle. “He goes out there everyday and you can see him putting guys in position to make plays. If you need a hammer here, he’s going to put a hammer there. If you need a nail here he’s going to make sure there’s a guy there who’s a nail. You’ve got people coming from all over the field, everybody gets the opportunities to make plays and I think that keeps everybody hungry, everybody involved and everybody accountable.”

Fellow defensive end Jared Odrick has benefited more from what goes on during the week with Coyle, but he has a similar perspective when it comes to how detail oriented his coordinator is.

 “The coaching that we get from coach Coyle or any other defensive coordinator is going to be during the week because during the game most of these coordinators are in the box,” Odrick said. “You run the scheme all week with your D-coordinator and when game time comes it’s really a matter of them telling you what they see from the sky and you telling them what you see from the field. He’s all over the place. If you’re going to be a D-coordinator you’ve got to correct everything that you see wrong, not just a specific position.”

 These preseason games are the perfect educational tool for Coyle because he can control the situations somewhat based on the areas he wants to concentrate on in practice.

“You’re working the game situations, but yet you’re also, it’s a practice and you want to get things on tape that you can teach,” Coyle explained. “Hopefully, with the combination of that, you can play well enough to win the game too at the same time. There’s a fine line in terms of the preseason games, but, certainly I expect us to go out and execute a lot better this week.”

When the Dolphins take the field on the road at the Carolina Panthers on Friday night, Coyle will be an old pro at this operation.
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